1920-2020 – a century of polymers and organic materials! Organic materials feature enormous variations in their physical properties as a result of the tremendous wealth of the different possible existing molecular structures of carbon based compounds. The consequence of this plethora of properties is that function and use of organic materials can be tailored by controlling molecular structure virtually at will by using modern synthetic approaches, allowing one to realize many advanced applications, which belonged to the realm of phantasy just a few decades ago. In this lecture course molecular structure-property relations will be discussed for the different types of (advanced) synthetic and natural (macromolecular) organic materials, including man-made polymers, nanoparticles, degradable polymers, polymer coatings and novel processing methods, e.g. 3D printing.
The course starts with a history of polymer science and the peculiar molar mass and molar mass distributions inherent to synthetic and also certain natural polymers. The determination of molar masses is a critical factor for all organic materials and will be covered to set a basis for the coming topics. Approaches will be treated which allow materials engineers to quantitatively estimate physical properties based on the molecular structure. Effects of processing on structure (texture) and hence on properties will be demonstrated (coatings, processing techniques but also by synthetic means). A description and comparison of the major classes of the most frequently used industrial polymers for different function will complement this course. In addition to single-component single-phase systems, polymer blends (mixtures), block copolymers and polymer composites will also be discussed. These materials allow one to combine the useful properties of individual constituents in one system and achieve targeted improved properties. The physical principles of multicomponent phase diagrams of polymers, and microphase separation in block copolymers will be treated. One particular advantage of polymers is related to their ease of processability. Processing introduces texture in the material, hence processing-structure (orientation) effects need attention. For demanding structural applications (sports, aerospace, etc...) the mechanical properties must be further enhanced. Polymer (nano)composites can combine the easy processing with superior mechanical (and other improved physical) performance. Hence a section on polymer (nano)composites will also be included in the course. Major classes of advanced soft matter, e.g. in electroactive and nanomaterial applications will be elucidated. The class will end with a student minisymposium on current interesting and relevant topics of modern soft matter and polymer science.
This is an advanced level graduate course, thus basic knowledge of organic chemistry, materials science and polymer science taught in the bachelor curriculum is a prerequisite and will be assumed.
Topics covered in the lecture
- Introduction (course overview, keywords of knowledge required, exam expectations, recommended literature)
- History of polymer science, overview on polymeric material classes, molar mass distribution
- Polymers from a molecular perspective, interactions, phase transitions, scaling
- Design and applications of polymer coatings
- Living polymerization: Anionic and ring-opening polymerization
- Controlled radical polymerization (ATRP, NMP, RAFT)
- Block copolymers, dispersion & stabilization of nanoparticles
- “Bioplastics”: Biobased / Biodegradable polymers – overview, synthesis, pros and cons
- Designer polymers – structure/properties I
- Designer polymers – structure/properties II
- Polymer technology, processing 1
- Polymer technology, processing 2
- Additive manufacturing/3D printing
- Inorganic polymers
Final written examination (40 % of total mark): questions about the lecture content.
Mid-term assignment (20 % of total mark): a written literature review on a current topic as basis for the presentation in the minisymposium.
Presentation in the minisymposium (20% of total mark): An oral presentation on a current topic in polymer science.
Two problem sets (20 % of total mark): Questions to lectures, should be handed in and will be marked.
Assumed previous knowledge
|Basics of polymer chemistry, polymer materials.|
|Master Chemical Engineering||Required materials|
|All announcements and lecture course material will be available via Canvas. Please regularly check Canvas, all announcements and course material will be posted there.|
|J.M.G. Cowie, Valeria Arrighi, Polymers: Chemistry and Physics of Modern Materials, 3rd Edition, CRC Press.|
|Jerold M. Schultz, Polymer Materials Science, Prentice Hall (Out of print, library copies available).|
|P. Painter, M. Coleman, 'Essentials of Polymer Science and Engineering' DEStech Publications|